The tugboats in the Fremantle port are my friends. I love these dogged and powerful machines, as they remind me of my country of birth, Holland. I never forget all those horror stories about these tiny craft going out into the North Sea when huge storms were blowing and much larger vessels were in distress. The tugboats were there to go and rescue when they received an SOS, and many a soul did they save.
This slide show of photos I have taken over the years is a tribute to the tugs and their brave operators.
Photos copyright Roel Loopers Profile Photography
With summer approaching fast I thought to wet your appetite with some wild shots.
click on photos to enlarge. Copyright Roel Loopers Profile Photography
Twenty-six years ago, in September 1984, my then partner Brigitte and I established Profile Photography in Perth, and what an incredible journey it has been. We had arrived in Perth a week earlier, and only knew Graham, a man we had met on the plane on a holiday to Perth a year before, but we were full of naïve confidence, as most new migrants are.
Brigitte is a master in marketing and promoting, so she was on the phone to get us appointments to show my portfolio, and she succeeded as always. The portfolio consisted of B&W press photos only, which I had shot during my 13 years in Germany working for daily newspapers, and doing assignments for magazines and press agencies, in Nuremberg.
The first job we got was for the State Energy Commission; the erection of a wind turbine at Coogee, and I became their preferred photographer for many years. The second assignment was near Blina in the Kimberley, shooting pumping oil heads for a Canadian company. It happened to be that Graham, the man we had met on a plane, was the CEO of a Canadian oil company. Lucky us!
More and more work arrived and I worked for some of the top architects, designers and advertising agencies. That also meant I worked with quite a few people whose inflated egos well exceeded their mental and creative abilities. But that was yet another challenge in life.
I worked for the mining and building industries all over the state and interstate, and for the government and government departments. The Western Mail used me as one of their homes photographers. I did assignments for property developers, artists, galleries, tourism, airlines, hotels, redevelopment authorities, PR agencies, wineries. I spend a week in East Timor shooting for Shell, etc. You name it and I probably photographed it, from land, boats, cranes, helicopters and planes.
The days were full of shooting assignments and in the evenings I was in the darkroom with a glass or two of red, printing orders. They were busy times.
One of my favourite clients was Cape Mentelle. They paid me in wine. Great wine! It also meant frequent visits to Margaret River.
For years I shot the opening of the W.A. parliament and took the official photos for every member-of-parliament. Through that I also became the official photographer for professor Gordon Read, the Governor of Western Australia.
I was the official photographer for the visit of Princess Ann and traveled with her to the Pilbara and Kimberley, and even had dinner with her in the Kununurra hotel we stayed, when she invited her minders and me. It was fun. On her last day, at Laury Connel’s horse property, Premier Brian Burke gave her a fat leather album with all my photos of her trip.
I photographed Fergie and Andrew, Prince Phillip, and who knows how many other dignitaries, planting trees, or standing at the staircase in Government House for the official photos.
But my love for photography has always been more for discovering photos amongst the clutter of visual pollution, rather than staging them, so my favourite jobs still are going to mining and industrial sites, doing architectural shoots, and capturing the activity in Fremantle port, etc.
My life as a photographer in Western Australia has been challenging but extremely rewarding. I have met so many very good people, and many have become friends over the years I worked with them.
Photography changed when digital technology was invented, so I had to adapt to that and change with it. It also meant that it has become harder to get assignments, as many companies take their own photos. My inability to promote myself has not helped, and I hate cold calling, but such is life.
The ups and downs over the last 26 years have sometimes been frustrating, but mostly deeply satisfying. No matter what the next years might bring, I will never regret I made the decision to become a professional photographer. I love taking photos, and it is irrelevant if I get assigned to take them, or get paid for it, or not.
Photography and people are my passion. What a great combination. What a rewarding profession and life!
It is nice to see my blog got international recognition in an article by Peter Wilson in the leading maritime publication LLOYD’S LIST of September 23, 2010. This is what he wrote:
FREMANTLE FOCUS ON BIG PICTURE
The dredging work at the WA port has inspired artistic efforts as well as environmental protests. But the work progresses and the outcome is looking good, writes PETER WILSON.
PORTS need more people like Fremantle photographer Roel Loopers, who has posted some great pictures of the dredgers working near his adopted city on his blog. He enjoyed watching the work on the second phase of the project to deepen the port’s basin and access channel.
“It must be my old Dutch blood, or the proof that I am a boy after all, but I find the dredging vessels Gateway and Phoenix I very fascinating” he said. “It is the first time in my life I have seen dredging so close up.”
The cutter suction dredger Phoenix I was busy breaking up a layer of limestone layer while the trailer hopper suction dredge Gateway was picking up the material to drop into seabed depression 7km offshore
UP IN ARMS
Roel posted a slideshow of his pictures – of the Royal Boskalis Westminster dredgers. His enthusiasm was in contrast to the call of the Greens member for Fremantle, Adele Carles, for an immediate halt to the work in January because of “threat to fish and dolphins” after a plume appeared upstream from the operations.
The article continues on in detail
Water is one of our most precious resources, but also an inspiring subject for photographers.
Photos copyright Roel Loopers Profile Photography
THE TOWN OF COTTESLOE
It is with great concern that I read about the Town of Cottesloe’s intention to introduce permits for commercial photography on and around Cottesloe Beach, as this would be extremely discriminatory to local and national professional photographers.
In modern times, and through internet and digital technology, we now compete with millions of amateur photographers around the world, who put their travel photos in local and international photo libraries and search engines. They are also the ones selling photos in their home countries to travel agents, newspapers and magazines, and often hold slideshows of their Australian adventures, for which they charge fees.
These people, because of the fact that the are tourists, would not be required to apply for permits and pay fees to obtain them, while my professional colleagues and I, who have been promoting our state and country all over the world with high quality photos, would be disadvantaged and discriminated again. That is unfair and not acceptable.
We local professionals get great photos of e.g. Cottesloe Beach because we return time and time again to get the perfect shots. We do so in our own time, and at our own cost and risk, as the photos might never make us any money.
Do you want us to get permits to shoot the Sculptures by the Sea, the Rottnest Swim, beach concerts, New Year’s Eve celebrations, etc?
And how does your permit proposal apply to commercial television stations who do live news crossings from the beach?
While taking photos at Cottesloe beach over the last 25 years I have supported local businesses by having lunches, dinners, coffees, take aways, and one of my photos of the Indiana Teahouse appeared on the cover of the 1997 UBD street directory at no cost to them or the Town of Cottesloe.
We professional photographers promote your beach and town at no cost whatsoever to you, but now you propose to punish us for that. That is not on.
Should you go ahead with introducing permits, I will ignore it and take photos at my leisure. I dare you to take me to court and explain to a magistrate why the Town of Cottesloe believes it can discriminate against a minority group of dedicated professionals.
For me the greatest feature of a photographer is the power of observation and the ability to see a picture amongst all the trivial things we tend to simply walk past. Finding beauty in the ordinary has been my motto for 28 years, so here a few pics I took in Perth today.
Photos copyright Roel Loopers. Profile Photography
I am so delighted about the foresight of the Cottesloe council. Only the other night I woke up in a sweat and thought there are just not enough rules, regulations and restrictions in the world. We need more! Do people really think they can simply enjoy the beach, sun and ocean. Do they believe we live in an anarchy?
Surely there is no need for kids to have fun, dig holes or bring their toys. Kids should not be allowed on beaches full stop, as they throw up sand while running around wild. It’s unacceptable.
And as for those who want to bring umbrellas and other sunray shade stoppers. If they don’t like the sun at Cottesloe beach, they should stay home and inside.